Empanadas Tucumanas – Deep Fried Beef Stew Empanadas
(Santa Cruz Bolivia)
Empanadas Tucumanas are thought to have originated in Argentina. Some say a woman who moved from Argentina brought the recipe with her when she moved to Tarija and they became very popular here. It’s important you make your filling the day before you actually plan to make your empanadas because you’ll need to chill the filling overnight before you fill the dough and shape your empanadas.
Ingredients for the Dough
4 cups of sifted flour
3 tablespoons of shortening at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups of boiled water
4 eggs, beaten with a fork
2 teaspoons of salt
4 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Ingredients for the Filling
2 cups of beef broth
2 pounds of beef, boiled and shredded
1 package of flavorless gelatin
2 teaspoons of powdered red chili pepper
2 large onions, finely chopped or grated
6 potatoes, peeled, boiled and cubed
4 tablespoons of finely chopped parsely
1 cup of cooked peas
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
salt to taste
Instructions for the dough:
In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the center and add in the eggs and shortening. Mix completely until the mixture begins to form a dough. Add water one tablespoon at a time, kneading the dough with your hands until you form a firm pliable dough similar to pie crust dough. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Instructions for the filling:
In a pot, sautee the onion and powdered chili pepper in the oil and then add the black pepper. Add the 2 cups of beef broth and boil. Add the boiled, shredded beef and salt and cook about 10-15 minutes.
Remove from stove. Add in the flavorless gelatin, potatoes, peas, parsely, and sugar. Mix very well. Place your stew in a glass mixing bowl or Tupperware bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. This will allow the gelatin to solidify.
The next day, prepare your dough and chill 1-2 hours as indicated above. Then take your dough out of the refrigerator and form it into balls just a little larger than ping-pong balls. Flatten and roll each ball of dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter, ensuring the dough doesn’t stretch too thin (it should be about the thickness you’d use for a pie crust).
Remove your filling from the refrigerator. At this time it should be rather gelatinous and you should be able to scoop the stew out of the pot with a spoon and place a spoonful onto a round of dough. (If your stew is too runny, you’ll have trouble filling the dough. You may need to reheat your stew, add another package of flavorless gelatin, and refrigerate overnight again if this happens.)
Hold a round of dough in one hand and place a spoonful of filling onto it. Add a couple of pieces of your hard boiled egg. Fold the dough up and seal it, crimping the edges and folding each corner or end downward.
In a large pot, heat enough oil so that it is about 6 inches deep. When the oil is hot, place an empanada into the oil and allow it to cook through until the dough is a golden brown. Serve hot but be careful! As they cook, the gelatin inside the empanada will liquefy again and when you bite into them they will be very hot and juicy.